Bernardine Evaristo and Lennie James.

British Booker Prize-winning author Bernardine Evaristo’s 2013 novel Mr Loverman is being adapted for TV by the BBC and Fable Pictures. The eight-part drama series will star Lennie James as the protagonist. Filming will begin later this year. The TV show will air on BBC One and iPlayer but will most likely be syndicated via other streaming platforms globally.

Exploring Britain’s older Caribbean community, Mr Loverman is a story about family, queer love, and being true to oneself. It tells the story of Barrington Jedidiah Walker, who is born and raised in Antigua but lives in Hackney, London. Barrington, who is 74 years old, leads a double life. Barrington is a husband, father, and grandfather, but also secretly gay. Flamboyant with a dapper taste in retro suits and a fondness for Shakespeare, Barrington’s lover is his childhood friend Morris. His religious wife Carmel thinks he sleeps with other women. Barrington wants to divorce Carmel and live with Morris, but after a lifetime of fear and deception, will he manage to break away?

Evaristo is excited about the adaptation, noting in a statement shared on  “I am thrilled that Mr Loverman is being adapted into television drama. I love the idea of them stepping beyond the pages of the novel and into people’s living rooms and lives.”

Lennie James, known for playing Morgan Jones in The Walking Dead, will be starring as Barrington. As noted in a statement, James is ready to take on the challenge of channeling the character, in all his complexities: “I can’t wait to get Barrington’s swagger on and help tell this crucial and complicated love story. As funny as it is sad. As full of heart as it is heartache…”

Mr Loverman will be directed by Hong Khaou, executive produced by Faye Ward, Hannah Farrell and Hannah Price for Fable Pictures, and Jo McClellan for the BBC. Lennie James will be executive producer and Nathaniel Price will be associate producer. Sony Pictures Television will distribute the series internationally.

The screenwriter of Mr Loverman is Nathaniel Price, known for The Outlaws (2022) and Noughts + Crosses (2020). He remarks that he is drawn to the story for its celebration of family and the deeply human angle it brings to a diversity of lived experiences:

From the moment I read Mr Loverman I fell in love with Barry, Morris, Carmel and the entire Walker family. Bernardine’s novel is not only a beautiful, truthful story, full of deeply human characters, it is a vitally important one. It is unflinching in its challenge of cultural myths and stereotypes, and an exhibition of just how deep and far-reaching the consequences of prejudice and fear can be. It has been an honour and a privilege to have had the chance to adapt this seminal work with the brilliant team at Fable to bring these unforgettable characters to life on screen.

Congrats to Evaristo on this big and beautiful win!  We cannot wait to give it a watch.